HUD Offers Technical Assistance for PHAs Considering Repositioning their Public Housing Assets

Last week, HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing sent an email detailing the communication and technical assistance efforts HUD was making to ensure that PHAs understood the range of options that were available to reposition their public housing assets. The following are bullet points quoted directly from the email:

  • PIH staff have been making presentations at local and national industry meetings to help PHAs become more aware of their repositioning options.
  • PHAs wanting to learn more about their repositioning may ask their local Field Office staff to walk them through the benefits of the various options—always with a focus on how best to address the local needs.
  • PIH has set up Repositioning Assistance Panels. Field office staff can reserve time with program experts identified by the Office of Recapitalization, Special Applications Center (SAC), Urban Revitalization Division, and Office of Housing Voucher Programs. These experts can discuss the various repositioning options with a PHA, enabling an informed decision about what strategy would best meet local needs. You can set up a time with a Panel through your local Field Office.
  • We have also trained Repositioning Expeditors in most Field Offices. These Expeditors are available to help PHAs with their RAD, voluntary conversion, and demo/dispo applications.
  • Understanding that these repositioning options are complex, particularly for small PHAs, the Department is working to provide the following starting late spring:
    1. Develop training materials, sample documents and other tools that help PHAs consider repositioning strategies and understand available options;
    2. Provide local training sessions to present available repositioning tools and considerations to address local affordable housing needs;
    3. Develop an online training platform and training materials to help PHAs and their boards understand repositioning options and HUD requirements; and
    4. Provide direct technical assistance to small PHAs (operating 250 or less assisted units) in how to start and sustain affordable housing strategies.

NAHRO reminds our members that repositioning is a voluntary process. The Department is providing a range of options, none of which are mandatory. Interested agencies should take actions–or not–based on the needs of their local communities and the households the agencies serve.

HUD To Begin Carbon Monoxide Detector Data Collection

Starting April 1, HUD will instruct REAC UPCS inspectors who conduct physical inspections of HUD assisted and insured properties to conduct a data collection on the prevalence of Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors at HUD properties subject to UPCS inspections. The collection of this data will not affect a property’s inspection score.

Inspectors are required to identify if the building being inspected contains any units with fuel-fired/burning appliances and/or has an attached garage. Inspectors are only to evaluate attributes of the built environment, not tenant furnished items.

Inspectors are required to note whether a source of CO is present, the total number of CO detectors that are missing, working, and not working. Inspectors are then to report this information in the “Building Comments” text box. If the building does not have any units with fuel-fired/burning appliances and/or attached garages, then the inspector is to leave the “Building Comments” text box blank.

HUD has mentioned they are considering requiring PHAs to provide CO detectors in Public Housing properties as a part of the new UPCS pilot program. Carbon monoxide detectors are not yet required at Public Housing properties across the country.

HUD Publishes Notice on Voluntary Conversions

In late March, HUD published a notice titled “Streamlined Voluntary Conversions of Last Remaining Projects of Small Public Housing Agencies” (PIH 2019-05 (HA)). This notice allows PHAs with 250 or fewer Public Housing units to convert them to Section 8 vouchers within the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program under a streamlined conversion process. This notice differs from the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program in several ways, but primarily in that instead of receiving RAD rents (i.e., a combination of public housing capital fund, operating fund, and tenant rent amounts), PHAs would receive full HCVs for their residents after conversion.

For a PHA to normally use the voluntary conversion option, it must conduct a conversion assessment and provide a timeline identifying PHA conversion actions. Under this notice, HUD is using its statutory authority to waive the conversion assessment requirement to make it easier for small PHAs to convert their portfolios. Public Housing Agencies are eligible under this notice if they meet the following requirements:

  • They have a portfolio of 250 or fewer public housing units;
  • They intend to close-out their public housing program; and
  • Conversion will result in the conversion of all public housing units.

If a converting PHA does not administer a Section 8 HCV program, then another PHA with a Section 8 HCV program must be identified to administer the vouchers.

To apply for a conversion, eligible PHAs must submit a conversion plan to HUD through the Inventory Management System / Public and Indian Housing Information Center (IMS/PIC). The conversion plan and application must include a PHA plan referencing the proposed conversion; evidence of resident involvement; evidence of board approval; a plan of future use of involved assets; HUD approval of environmental requirements; an impact analysis of the conversion on the neighborhood(s) (in the form of a narrative statement); a summary of information concerning the relocation plan; close-out information; and another Section 8 HCV program identified to receive vouchers, if the applying PHA does not have a Section 8 HCV program. Additionally, certain other requirements must be met (e.g., civil rights reviews, etc.). The Department must respond within 90 days of the PHA submitting the conversion plan.

The full notice can be found here.

HUD to Host MTW Cohort #1 Webinar Tomorrow (March 28th) at 3pm ET

As previously mentioned on this blog, HUD will host a webinar on the Moving to Work (MTW) Expansion, Cohort #1 tomorrow at 3 pm ET. Listed below is additional information on the webinar that I received from a HUD official.

MTW Cohort 1

The Department has extended the application timeline for agencies to apply to the  Cohort #1 of Moving to Work Demonstration Program. Through this extension notice the Department will select thirty agencies to study MTW flexibility.

Cohort #1 will consist of high-performing agencies that administer 1,000 or fewer HCVs and public housing units combined. The deadline to submit the letter of interest package for Cohort #1 is May 13, 2019.

On Thursday, March 28th the MTW Office will host a webinar on Cohort #1. There is no registration required to join the webinar and the call-in information is below.

 

Step 1: Dial into the conference.

Dial-in: 1-877-369-5243 or 1-617-668-3633

Access Code: 0604767##

Need an international dial-in number?

Step 2: Join the conference on your computer.

Entry Link: http://ems8.intellor.com/login/813201

HUD Updates Mainstream Voucher Program FAQ

An email from the folks at the Technical Assistance Collaborative (TAC) informed me that HUD has updated their Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document on the Mainstream Voucher Program. It was updated on March 22, 2019. This document is essential reading for all those who have Mainstream Vouchers.

The Mainstream Voucher FAQ can be found here.

Emergency Safety and Security Capital Fund Grant Applications Due June 5

HUD will fund $10 million in Emergency Safety and Security capital grants in FY 2019. Interested PHAs should apply to HUD by 5 PM ET, June 5, 2019. HUD Notice PIH-2016-03 provides guidance to PHAs seeking Emergency Capital Needs for safety and security reasons. Grants are made available to address safety and security emergencies that pose an increased threat to the health and safety of PHA residents on a first come, first serve basis until the set-aside funding is exhausted. PHAs must describe and explain how they have experienced an increased threat to the health and safety of their public housing residents in order to be considered for this funding. Examples of eligible uses include: security systems and cameras, fencing, lighting systems, emergency alarm systems, window bars, deadbolts, and doors. Funding cannot be used for patrol cars, salaries for PHA staff including security staff, security contracts or payment to local law enforcement for additional security, or transferring safety and security funding to the Operating budget.

Intersted PHA’s must apply by 5 PM ET, June 5, 2019. More information can be found here.

HUD Announces Webinars for MTW Cohorts 1 & 2

HUD has announced they will be hosting two webinars next week related to the MTW expansion. The first webinar will be on March 26th from 3-4 PM ET and targeted toward agencies eligible for Cohort 2 of the MTW Expansion. Cohort 2, which will evaluate rent reform policy interventions, is open for agencies with 1,001 – 27,000 combined voucher and public housing units. The second webinar, on March 28 from 3-4PM ET, will be targeted toward agencies eligible for Cohort 1 of the MTW Expansion. Cohort 1 is open to agencies with 1,000 or less combined units and will evaluate the overall impact of MTW. 

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HUD Sends Email Clarifying Admin. Fee Rates and Portability

Earlier today, HUD’s Financial Management Division sent an email responding to questions received from PHAs regarding HUD’s calendar year (CY) 2019 administrative fee rates. The email notes that the CY 2019 administrative fee rates are effective retroactively to January 1st, 2019. The Department will also publish two additional documents:

  1. A document describing how the 2019 rates were calculated; and
  2. A document to serve as guidance on portability billing, which will include an estimated administrative fee proration that will be recommended for portability.

Until those documents are published, HUD recommends that program administrators use 80% as the estimated administrative fee proration and that they continue to consider using the CY 2018 Portability Administrative Fee Rate Description.

These documents can be found at HUD’s Office of Housing Choice Vouchers, which can be accessed here.

HUD Issues Letter Confirming New Micro- and Simplified Acquisition Thresholds

Last week, HUD sent a letter to Executive Directors confirming that the micro-purchase threshold and the simplified acquisition threshold have been increased. The new thresholds are as follows:

  • the micro-purchase threshold is now $10,000 (previously, it was $3,500); and
  • the simplified acquisition threshold is now $250,000 (previously, it was $100,000).

There was initially uncertainty about the use of these thresholds since the summer of 2018, when the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) published a notice implementing increases to the thresholds for all grant recipients. This letter clarifies that the increased thresholds apply to PHAs.

OMB’s original notice can be found here.

HUD’s letter confirming the new thresholds can be found here.